This is our third Christmas and to be honest – and I suspect everyone thinks the same – I have no idea where the time has gone.

We’ve grown. Yes, the endless supply of custard creams and Tunnocks caramel wafers has taken its toll. Oh, and we have three new additions to the FLP family. Mark (Finance Adminstrator), Lisa (Chartered Legal Executive) and Chris (Solicitor). They have been great additions and have fitted seamlessly into the team.

There is no doubt it has been a very, very busy year. That is in no small part due to the great support we have from referrers and clients. The volume has led to our expansion and we are still looking to grow. So, if you know someone who is Resolution accredited, hard working, committed to helping clients, trained in DR and forward thinking then please send them our way!

Our focus remains on finding solutions. The Court – despite the efforts offer all its committed staff – is at breaking point. Delays are an inevitable consequence of judicial budget cuts. Sadly, it is not fit for purpose. And add to that the surge in litigants in person at court through the demise in Legal Aid and things can only get worse. If we think Family work has been hit hard, just read about what has happened to those who try and defend people charged with criminal offences and it will not take long to realise those “running” this country bringing the legal profession to it knees. There are no easy solutions and no quick fixes as the money is not there. That is why we try and ensure the focus is on addressing the issues and finding the workable solutions as quickly as we can. We are fortunate to work in an area where there are like- minded lawyers (www.sussexfamilysolutions.com) who recognise the balance to be struck between ensuring the legal processes being correctly followed and the emotional needs of our clients, and their families, who seek our help. impacts as little as possible on the parties’ emotions and vice versa.

We do this through Mediation and our ever increasing Collaborative Law work. Add to that the option of Arbitration (which I hope to qualify for) in the New Year and we have all the dispute resolution options covered.

We have continued to invest in IT with platforms available to clients to enable them to draft and collaborate with us on relevant documents and papers to try and make it as cost effective as possible.

Externally, we have maintained our Band 1 ranking in Chambers and have now been included in the Legal 500. Not bad for a firm not even 3 years old.

Internally, we have had some wonderful support from our professional advisors including a Business consultant who has helped us as a team work on our business planning for 2014 and beyond!

We are all looking forward to a positive 2014 and on behalf of my fellow directors and the Family Law Partners Team we wish you a Merry Christmas and a successful New Year.

Robert

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